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Mr. Straw: Since the Ministry of Justice was only formed on 9 May 2007 my response refers to the former Department for Constitutional Affairs. The following table provides figures from the 2002-03 financial year to the end of the last full financial year. Information for the preceding five years is not held centrally, and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
|Financial year||Total owned at end of year||Total purchased during year|
Mr. Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how much was spent on average per head on legal aid in the last year for which figures are available; and what comparative assessment he has made of equivalent figures for other EU countries. 
Mr. Straw: In 2006-07 average legal aid expenditure per head of population in England and Wales was £37. Ministry of Justice has not made a comparative assessment with other EU countries. However, all known studies suggest that England and Wales spend more per capita than any other jurisdiction.
The European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice published a report on European Judicial Systems in 2006, which included 2004 per head expenditure data. The following table shows a selection of countries.
|Country||£ per head|
David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many prisoners were serving life sentences as of 1 February 2008; and how many were serving such sentences on that day or the nearest date for which figures are available in (a) 1998 and (b) 1988. 
Mr. Hanson: At the end of December 2007, the latest date for which the information is available, there were 6,700 prisoners serving life sentences in prison establishments in England and Wales. Equivalent figures for December 1998 and 1988 are not available however, at the end of (a) June 1998 there were 3,950 and (b) June 1988 there were 2,500 prisoners serving life sentences in prison establishments in England and Wales.
These figures have been drawn from administrative IT systems, which, as with any large-scale recording system, are subject to possible errors with data entry and processing, and so have been rounded to the nearest 50.
Mr. Garnier: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what discussions he or his officials have had with the Governments of non-EU states on (a) the deportation from the United Kingdom of their citizens in custody in the UK and (b) arrangements for their citizens to serve the remainder of their custodial sentence in their own countries in the last three years; and with which Governments such discussions have been held. 
Mr. Hanson: In addition to our normal contact with other Governments over the deportation of individuals, where there are difficulties in obtaining documentation these issues are taken up directly with the respective embassy or high commission. The UK has now established safe routes and re-documentation arrangements with a significant number of countries and this is aiding our ability to return prisoners and other people at an improving pace. In particular we have recently signed a returns agreement with China and we are working ever more closely with Governments around the world to facilitate removals.
Since 2005, discussions on prison transfer agreements have taken place with St. Lucia, Tunisia, Yemen, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Guyana, Argentina, Ghana, Libya, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Jamaica, Nigeria, Pakistan, Kenya, Botswana, India, Vietnam, Bangladesh, the United Arab Emirates, Columbia, Laos and Lesotho. The United Kingdom currently has agreement with 98 countries.
Hywel Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice by what means, other than completion of a rehabilitation course, prisoners on indeterminate sentences may demonstrate that their level of risk is sufficiently reduced for them to be released. 
Mr. Hanson: The release of a tariff expired indeterminate sentence prisoner is entirely a matter for the independent Parole Board. The statutory test applied by Parole Board panels in assessing risk in such cases, is whether they are satisfied that it is no longer necessary for the protection of the public that the prisoner should be confined. Guidance on this matter is contained in Directions to the Parole Board on the Release and Recall of Life Sentence Prisoners, a copy of which is available in the House of Commons Library.
When determining whether or not such offenders should be released, the Parole Board will look at the relevant risk factors in the individual cases, the various ways in which these have been addressed during sentence, and the outcomes manifested. The ways might include formal accredited offending behaviour courses, one to one work on identified risk factors, educational or vocational interventions and achievements. The risk assessment and risk reduction processes are, of necessity, holistic ones, considering all relevant factors.
Mr. Heath: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many post mortem examinations on children aged between five and 15 were not carried out by paediatric pathologists in each coroner's district in each of the last five years. 
The information is not available in the format requested. The Office of National Statistics collects
data on the deaths of children in England aged between five and 15 years where a post mortem examination has been carried out. It is not broken down by coroner's district. The information available is shown in the following table.
|Death registrations in England by post mortem type, ages 5 to 15. Data from the Office of National Statistics|
|Post mortem authorised by a coroner||Post mortem authorised by a doctor||Not known by whom post mortem authorised|
No prisoner serving an indeterminate sentence may be considered for release until they have completed their tariff, that is, the period of imprisonment considered necessary to meet the requirements of retribution and deterrence. The Parole Board may direct a tariff-expired indeterminate sentence prisoner's release only if it is satisfied that it is no longer necessary for the protection of the public that the prisoner should be confined.
As at 31 January 2008, 17 prisoners serving indeterminate sentences of imprisonment for public protection (IPP) have been released. 16 of these were on the direction of the Parole Board. In the seventeenth case the prisoner was released before tariff expiry on compassionate grounds due to ill health and has since died.
Mr. Hanson: The Public Protection Unit of the National Offender Management Service, the pre-release section (PRS) maintains a limited database on those offenders sentenced to imprisonment for public protection (IPP). This indicates that, as at 1 January 2008, 535 such offenders were being held in prison beyond their tariff expiry date.
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